Helpful tips on what to expect and what to bring
So you've decided to dip your toe into this whole whitewater thing by coming to the beginner's clinic! Congrats! You've made the right choice. We know that just showing up to camp and learn a new sport with strangers can be a little intimidating for some. We want your experience to be great, and that starts with knowing what to expect. You can get a visual on clinic by visiting our photo album at http://bwaspringclinic.weebly.com/clinic-pics.html.
About the Camping
- Camping will take place riverside on the Russell Fork River in Elkhorn City, KY. The price is included in your clinic fee.
- The campground is called Ratliffe Hole and offers modest restroom facilities with toilets and showers (showers aren't great!).
- Camping spots are on a first come, first serve basis, but there should be plenty of space.
- Firewood can sometimes be purchased or scavenged locally. You should not bring in firewood from other locations as it spreads parasites. We will provide wood for community fires, and boaters are very social creatures.
- Clinic participants are a very diverse group of people. Some will shake it on the dance floor all night, while others will turn in early. Consider this when choosing a spot to camp. If you're an early to bed kind of person, do not camp next to the pavilion or down by the river. Quiet, family camping will be designated up on the hill.
- Non participating guests may attend the clinic and camp and eat with us for a $20 fee.
About the classes
- There will be a morning class and afternoon class on Saturday and a morning class on Sunday.
- Classes will be small in size, with an instructor and a safety assistant.
- You will be assigned a class based on your reported skill level. All skill levels are welcome, even if you've never seen a kayak in your life.
- Basic clothing such as water shoes or booties and socks, pants, leggings and tops worn on the river should NOT be made out of cotton material. You should dress warmer than you think you need to, with layers you can take off if necessary. The water is dam release, so it will be cool. Anything polyester or spandex or designed to be moisture wicking is ideal. A fleece top is great for warmth.
- You should bring as much whitewater gear and clothing as you own. If you are just beginning, we recommend that you purchase your own pfd and and helmet, as they are harder to borrow and will fit you better it they're yours. Farmer John neoprene suits, hydroskin or dry suits are also recommended. But if you do not have these items, let us know an we will help you borrow them.
- Gear talk can be overwhelming for a new boater but there is no need for you to show up to your first clinic with $2000 worth of new stuff. For questions about gear and clothing, Michael Daughtery at 502-554-8489 or email at VP@bluegrasswildwater.org with any questions.
About the events
- The dance party will take place on Saturday night, to celebrate a great day on the river. Dance parties are a common occurrence at BWA events and are quite informal.
- The talent show will also take place on Saturday, right after dinner. Participation is open to anyone, no actual talent required. Prizes will be awarded.
About the kids
- There are some pretty amazing youngsters in whitewater sports. Feel free to bring your children along and even enroll them in the clinic. There are usually other children.
- For quiet, family friendly camping, locate the designated areas when you arrive.
What to bring
- Tent and accessories
- A warm sleeping bag and other bed-time comforts
- A flashlight
- Garbage bags for your own campsite
- Firewood (if wanted) in compliance with state laws
- Your own plate, knife, fork, spoon, cup, and coffee mug.
- Snacks/lunch for Saturday afternoon.
- Beverages of your choosing. Alcoholic beverages must be kept in a plastic cup at ALL times.
- As much gear as you have, including a PFD, spray skirt, helmet, noseplugs, a whitewater kayak, Whitewater Canoe (with float bags and riggings) or C-1 (no recreational kayaks, rafts, canoes, or SUPs), a paddle, a dry bag, neoprene cold weather gear or dry suit, river shoes or booties with good traction, wool socks, and moisture wicking, non-cotton clothing.
- Warm, comfortable clothes to wear around the campsite.
- Personal comfort items like chap stick, toiletries and aspirin.
- Ear plugs (if you’re a light sleeper)
- Your sense of adventure.